By Adama Tine
The National Assembly Members on Monday adopted the standing order report on human rights and constitutional matters on persons with disabilities Bill 2020, aimed at protecting persons with disabilities.
Speaking during the session, Suwaibou Touray, National Assembly Member for Wuli East who chaired the committee said they have both general and specific observations regarding the bill.
“The general observations include that the bill complement Section (31) of the 1997 Constitution which reads; “Disabled person shall be entitled to protection against exploitation, discrimination and as regard to health services. The right of the disabled and handicapped should be recognized by the state,” he said.
He adds; “The rights, abilities and talents of persons with disabilities should be promoted to enhance their participation and contribution to national development.”
Saikouba Jarju, the National Assembly Member for Busumbala Constituency said based on the conclusion of the report it seems the Minister of Justice is not consulted to help them in drafting the bill. He said although it is in due period it should pass through proper procedures.
“Most of the bills are brought by the executive. We should be mindful and not allow ourselves to be seen as tools by the executive. They want to have a good name. We should ask whether they really mean to implement the bills and whether the required materials to introduce them are available. Since 2017, so many bills have been presented but their faith is not known,” he said.
He stressed that they should not serve as tools to the executive but ask if they are going to implement the law.
Ousman Sillah, National Assembly Member for Banjul North said: “although efforts have been made the report failed to meet requirements in the standing order (69)”, adding: “it seems that the committee decided without involving stakeholders as the evidence should come from the witness dealing with the report section by section.”
He however added that “in the report some sections have been jumped. It is fundamental to involve stakeholders because the bill had taken too long to be presented and it is dealing with an important segment of the society who are persons with disabilities.”